Packers show they can play 'D,' too

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 15, 2011 - 12:35 AM

Often overshadowed by its offensive counterpart, Green Bay's defense got into the act in a big way.

hide

Blitzing Packers cornerback Charles Woodson, left, wrapped up Adrian Peterson, and linebacker A.J. Hawk, top, came in late to complete a 6-yard loss in the third quarter.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

GREEN BAY, WIS. - The Green Bay Packers gained fewer yards of offense than the Vikings in the first half Monday night. They also led 17-0.

That pretty much summed up the cosmic difference between the two teams right now. One is chasing perfection. The other looks as if it's running in circles.

As expected, the Packers won in a landslide 45-7 to remain perfect at 9-0, but it's the details -- one bigger than the rest -- that left them encouraged. Specifically, they showed they also can play some defense.

First, a caveat: The Vikings started a rookie quarterback and made enough blunders to fill a blooper reel. Their performance was beyond hideous. But the Packers defense deserves credit for that, too. For once, Aaron Rodgers and the high-scoring offense had to share center stage with the guys on the other side of the ball.

"We finally feel like we played up to the level that we were capable of," linebacker Clay Matthews said. "The offense is going to put up points. It's just a matter of the defense holding up their end of the bargain. We were able to do that, and we feel real good about it."

Rodgers stuffed the stat sheet as usual. That's a given these days. He passed for 250 yards and four touchdowns to finish with a 140.3 passer rating. (The frightening part is that he made it look so routine.)

What happened on the other side of the ball was even more impressive. Matthews turned up the pass-rushing heat and the defense made Christian Ponder's first trip to Lambeau Field something he would rather forget.

The defense's resurgence, if only for one night, gives the Packers a shot in the arm, because they already know very few teams can outscore their offense. If they get a consistent performance from their defense, the talk of a perfect season is only going to intensify.

The defense faced some criticism last week after surrendering 38 points against San Diego. Granted, when you're undefeated, everything is relative. But they just haven't lived up to their own expectations.

"We understand here we are halfway through the season and the offense has been carrying us," Matthews said. "It's time to really take accountability for each and everyone's actions. Everybody take care of their individual responsibility, and tonight is prime example of that coming to fruition."

The Packers are a classic bend-but-don't-break outfit. They entered Monday's game ranked 30th in the NFL total defense and 31st in pass defense. But they were 18th in scoring defense and tied for second in the league in takeaways with 19, including 16 interceptions.

They like to gamble in the secondary. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Theories abound for why they've struggled. Cornerback Charles Woodson spoke up last week, saying the defense needed to find a way to get Matthews free to the quarterback. Matthews had only three sacks in eight games as opposing offenses accounted for his whereabouts at all times.

Coach Mike McCarthy blamed some of the problems on a breakdown in communication. Whatever the case, the Packers got well against the Vikings, who managed only 266 total yards.

They held Adrian Peterson to only 51 yards rushing and gave Ponder fits with their constant pressure. Ponder completed only 16 of 34 passes for 190 yards with one interception.

The Packers sacked Ponder three times -- two by Matthews -- hit him six times and broke up eight passes. They swarmed and attacked all game.

The Vikings' lone touchdown came after Packers punt returner Randall Cobb gift-wrapped a fumble deep in Minnesota territory. That was it.

"You can see how much drastically it makes our team better when the defense is operating on all cylinders and the offense is as well," Matthews said.

Yes, that's a formidable 1-2 punch indeed.

Chip Scoggins • ascoggins@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago WSox 1 Top 5th Inning
NY Yankees 3
Tampa Bay 1 Top 7th Inning
Toronto 2
Detroit 1 Bottom 4th Inning
Minnesota 9
Seattle 0 Top 4th Inning
Boston 3
Baltimore 1 Top 2nd Inning
Chicago Cubs 0
San Francisco - T. Lincecum 3:05 PM
Washington - J. Zimmermann
Houston - C. McHugh 6:05 PM
Cleveland - D. Salazar
St. Louis - S. Miller 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan
Atlanta - E. Santana 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - M. Leake
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez 6:10 PM
Milwaukee - W. Peralta
San Diego - A. Cashner 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Miami - T. Koehler 7:10 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Kansas City - J. Guthrie 7:25 PM
Texas - N. Tepesch
LA Angels - C. Wilson 8:05 PM
Oakland - J. Lester
NY Mets - J. deGrom 8:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Tampa Bay 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
Oklahoma State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Chicago 6:00 PM
Toronto FC
Montreal 6:00 PM
Red Bull New York
Chivas USA 6:30 PM
New England
Houston 6:30 PM
Columbus
D.C. 7:30 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Vancouver FC 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Indiana 4:00 PM
Washington
Minnesota 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who would you rather have on your team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close